Lobbying Labor’s Queensland Government: How?

migraineFirst, don’t just do something, sit there – take a little time to research and plan your approach.

Know who they are, not who the Courier Mail says they are; the current Labor Ministry are not the same as the Beattie or Bligh Ministries, and very different from the Newman Ministry.  Many Ministers are new to Parliament, and most have had no Ministerial experience; although more of the Palaszczuk Ministry have past Ministerial experience than the fresh 2012 Liberal National Party in 2012, fewer have substantial Parliamentary experience.

Check their (brief) biographies here.  Deeper knowledge is better e.g. does the Minister have a past policy interest in this area?  Past experience?  What are their internal Party alliances and networks? Have they made a speech on the topic?  A media release, or blog or Facebook post?  There’s rarely value, in asking for something that’s already been rejected – you’ll need to modify your proposal.

Know what Labor have said and done previously about your issue: what did the Beattie and Bligh Governments say or do?  Did Labor release a policy impacting your issue, during the campaign?  Is it referenced in the Party’s new Platform?  What does the Premier think about the issue?  Other Ministers?

Understand who is responsible for what: there’s been a significant Ministerial restructure and portfolios aren’t structured the way they used to be.  Is the issue more appropriately handled by a Parliamentary Secretary rather than a Minister?  Here’s the list of the new administrative arrangements.

democracy_not_for_saleLabor has a different approach to transparency than had the previous Government: some of their intentions are highlighted in their “Our Democracy Not For Sale” policy, here, and some are outlined in this news report relating to the “Fitzgerald Principles”.

Appreciate that there is always lengthy and unexpected dislocation (hence delays) upon the accession of a new Government, even a re-elected Government, and Ministers won’t have a full complement of staff for weeks, so will struggle to deal with things quickly, initially.  As of 17 February, not all of them have appointed Chiefs of Staff.

Start early: the standard turnaround time for a reply to a Ministerial letter is four weeks, and complex issues can take longer.

Understand that some public servants and Ministers can be hard to find directly: the Newman Government took down the most useful website in the Queensland public sector – the directory of senior and executive staff – because they didn’t want the public going directly to anyone in the middle ranks of the public sector.

Understand that the person you need to speak with may well not be a Minister or a Ministerial advisor – it may be a public servant.  The public servants are still there and their continuity in their roles can speed things up.  Going unnecessarily to a Minister can slow things way down.

meetingOnce you’ve sorted all of that out, you need to work out how to persuade them most effectively: how to get the message to them, and the right message – remembering that the things that persuade you aren’t the things that persuade them!

And, there’s so much more – these are just a few, quick, initial tips.

 

About Mike Smith

Partner in Ethical Consulting Services: www.ethicalconsulting.com; sometime University lecturer; previously Government Relations consultant; before that Labor Party State Secretary in Northern Territory; union advocate with LHMU/United Voice in NT and NSW; hobby – election campaigns!

Posted on February 17, 2015, in Change, Culture, Government Relations, how to lobby, Lobbying, Planning, Political tactics, public service decision-making, Queensland Government, Strategy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. One of my friends made this comment on LinkedIn, which is so true!

    Good advice Mike. In my experience, the preparation also includes answering: What have we undertaken to try and overcome or solve the challenge? What is the wider impact of the challenge? Are there other stakeholders who agree or disagree? How could we co-create a solution with government and other interested stakeholders? No government likes to be simply presented with narrow problems and challenges. They all want to achieve solutions and outcomes!

  1. Pingback: How To Lobby | Ethical Consulting Services

  2. Pingback: How to Lobby – Part 1 | Ethical Consulting Services

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